Selection in reproductivemedicine today relies on normative assessments of what ‘good life’ consists of. This paper explores the terms under which such assessments are made by focusing on three particular concepts of ‘quality’: quality of life, biological quality and population quality. It is suggested that the apparently conflicting hypes, hopes and fears that surround reproductivemedicine can co-circulate because of the different forms of normative assessment that these concepts allow. To ensure clarity in bioethical deliberations (...) about selection, it is necessary to highlight how these differing forms of assessment are mobilized and invoked in practices of and debates about reproductivemedicine. (shrink)
Whilst India has been debating how to regulate 'surrogacy' the UK has undergone a major consultation on increasing the amount of 'expenses'paid to egg 'donors', while France has recently finished debating its entire package of bioethics regulation and the role of its Biomedicine Agency. Although it is often claimed that there is no alternative to the neo-liberal, market-based approach in regulating (or not) reproductivemedicine--the ideology prevalent in both India and the UK--advocates of that position ignore the alternative (...) model offered by France's tighter regulation, as well as its overarching concern with protecting the vulnerable and ensuring social justice. Whilst the concepts underpinning the French model of regulation also have their provenance in Western political philosophy and not in the developed world, they embody a very different attitude and suggest that there is indeed an alternative to letting the market decide. However, even in France that alternative is highly contested. (shrink)
Assisted reproduction , particularly that performed using donated gametes, increases the prospect of healthy babies being delivered to increasing numbers of people striving for parenthood. The psychosocial, ethical and legislative issues related both to the donation and receipt of gametes are perceived as extraordinarily complicated. In 2009, a research project aimed at mapping the issues was drawn up and implemented in the Czech Republic. The project should have provided material for consultation purposes, for the work of ethical and legislative bodies, (...) and for better interdisciplinary and international communication in reproductivemedicine. Work on the project was affected by several unforeseen events, particularly by the drafting and adoption of a new law on ART . The article describes the dynamic and structural changes occurring within the project due to drafting of the bill as well as the changes and consequences resulting from other circumstances related to the topic researched. (shrink)
Why do some doctors routinely deny birth control refills without additional tests, and why do some doctors disrespect patient autonomy in decisions about abortions, labor and delivery, organ transplants, and more? This book argues that medical sexism is a major cause of this pervasive mistreatment.
This paper addresses the topic of bioethics in reproductivemedicine from the perspective of the religious implications for the field. The assumption underlying the approach is that religion remains a factor that influences the field of bioethics even in a secularized postmodern society. The first part of the paper analyses the main bioethical issues which mark obstetrics and gynecology, uttering that the four basic principles of bioethics are available both in obstetrics and gynecology and must be applied in (...) association with the practitioner’s virtues. The second part of the paper focuses on the main directions that guide the debate on the presence of religion in the field of bioethics, with a special interest in their relevance for reproductivemedicine. Despite the difficulties implied by the task of advocating for the place of religion at the secular table of deliberation in medical ethics, the relevance of religion for bioethics cannot be ignored. (shrink)
In Medical Sexism: Contraception Access, ReproductiveMedicine, and Health Care, Jill B. Delston uses a feminist lens to examine the overwhelmingly common gynecological practice of declining to write prescriptions for oral contraceptives unless a woman agrees to an annual Pap smear, which is used to detect precancerous changes, as well as cancer of the cervix. Employing a comprehensive evaluation of the medical literature, Delston methodically builds a strong argument that these measures not only do not follow evidence-based medical (...) guidelines, but they also carry a significant potential of harm to the patient. Furthermore, cervical cancer prevention has absolutely nothing to do with... (shrink)
The paper discusses the practice of genetic counseling and elective abortion in the German Democratic Republic. Keywords: elective abortion, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization, protection of human life, reproductive ethics, German Democratic Republic, bioethics CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
The diffusion of medical technology is largely determined by the marketplace demands supported by national and historical contexts. Using the cases of cesarean delivery and newborn intensive care in the United States, this article presents the argument that the interaction of four factors accounts for the rapid diffusion of untested technologies. These factors are economic expansion in an unrestricted market, the vulnerability of the patient population, a social disposition towards emergency medicine, and the vested interest of medical specialists.
In its recent statement 'Sex Selection and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis', the Ethics Committee of the American Society of ReproductiveMedicine concluded that preimplantation genetic diagnosis for sex selection for non-medical reasons should be discouraged because it poses a risk of unwarranted gender bias, social harm, and results in the diversion of medical resources from genuine medical need. We critically examine the arguments presented against sex selection using preimplantation genetic diagnosis. We argue that sex selection should be available, at (...) least within privately funded health care. (shrink)
Background Against a background of on the one hand, a declining demography and a conservative family register system that emphasizes the importance of the blood line, and on the other hand, an increase in the number of people undergoing fertility treatment, the absence of a legal regulatory framework concerning ART matters is likely to result in an increasing number of contradictory situations. It is against this background that the paper sets out to examine the judgements of court cases related to (...) ART, with a particular focus on the legal determination of parental status, and to link these to aspects of the legal and socio-ethical environment within which the courts make their judgements. Methods The methods used were thorough investigation of all the court cases concerning ART in the public domain in Japan, including the arguments of the concerned parties and the judgements so far delivered. With the court cases as a central focal point, trends in Japan, including deliberations by government and academic societies, are reviewed, and the findings of surveys on the degree of understanding and attitudes among the people toward ART are summarized. Results In terms of the judgements to date, the central criteria used by the courts in determining parental status were the act of parturition and the consent of the husband of the concerned couple. The government and academic societies have displayed a cautious attitude toward ART, but the findings of attitude surveys among the people at large show a generally positive attitude toward ART. Attitudes toward the overwhelming importance hitherto attached to the bloodline are also seen to be changing. Conclusion The main conclusion is that in the absence of a legal regulatory framework for ART, there is likely to be an increase in the contradictions between the use of outdated legal precedents and the technical development of ART. Since much of the specialist discussion necessary for the formulation of a legal framework has already been carried out, the speedy enactment of comprehensive and at the same time flexible legislation would be highly desirable, but further wide-ranging discussion involving the general public is likely to be needed first. (shrink)
It is a common feature of debates on the regulation of reproductivemedicine to find law portrayed as a crude form of intervention consisting in the imposition of inflexible rules on doctors and medical researchers. This paper argues that this view must be replaced by a more accurate assessment of the law's potential role in the regulation of reproductivemedicine. From an analysis of the White Paper on human fertilisation and embryology, and in particular the proposed (...) Statutory Licensing Authority, the author contends that far from being an inflexible method of regulation law can foster discussion and compromise. (shrink)
Definition of the problemIn medicine and bioethics, the term “suffering” is not clearly defined from a normative point of view. Nevertheless, suffering due to infertility is the starting point for medical interventions in assisted reproductivemedicine. This implies that the unfulfilled desire to have children is a form of suffering, but the validity of this statement has not yet been clarified.ArgumentsBased on descriptions of some common concepts, certain characteristics of suffering are identified. We discuss the significance of (...) suffering as an anthropological condition in connection with the mission of medicine to alleviate human suffering. Furthermore, the risks of reproductive treatment and their significance for health are addressed.ConclusionWe conclude that the unfulfilled desire to have children is a form of suffering, and therefore has a normative value. The legitimacy of appropriate somatic intervention can only be established by taking the psycho-existential dimension of suffering into account. (shrink)
Questions concerning the parent/ patient’s autonomy are seen as one of the most important reasons for requesting Ethics Consultations. Respecting parent/ patient’s autonomy also means respecting the patient’s wishes. But those wishes may be controversial and sometimes even go beyond legal requirements. The objective of this case series of 32 ECs was to illustrate ethically challenging parent / patients’ wishes during the first stages of life and how the principle of patient’s autonomy was handled. The case series has a qualitative (...) retrospective approach. A documentary sheet was designed de novo and information was gained from EC minutes and medical charts. The cases originate from the following specialties: reproductivemedicine, obstetrics and neonatology as well as two interdisciplinary cases. Through the structured EC minutes aspects of patient / parents’ wishes could be identified explicitly. Overall the patient / parents’ wishes were not supported in 61% of the cases. Central reasons for rejection of patient / parent wishes were mainly the protection of the best interest of the unborn / new-born child as well as the rejection of clinical approaches that were regarded as being substandard treatment. The study shows that treatment decisions in reproductivemedicine, obstetrics and neonatology raise substantial ethical questions leading to the request for ethics consultation. The systematic case series presented here gives insight into the ethical reflection carried out to support the clinicians in their decision-making and counselling. It shows that clinicians, after using ethics consultation, make deliberate decisions that do not “automatically” fulfil the treatment requests of the patients and parents. (shrink)
A reductive reading of Humanae vitae seeks to limit its appeal to a ban on contraception. In truth, however, it offers a vision of human sexuality and conjugal love with broad and enduring relevance. In setting forth the intrinsic complementarity and irreducibility of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the conjugal act, Paul VI has given us a hermeneutical key for assessing many contemporary ethical dilemmas in human reproductivemedicine. From this perspective, this article seeks to apply the (...) logic of Humanae vitae to several real-life scenarios confronted by medical practitioners, educators, and ethicists working in the field of fertility and reproductive health. These include a consideration of the ethics of prescribing hormonal contraceptives, the possibilities of investigating male infertility, issues of cooperation in counseling and assisting conception in same-sex relationships, the ethics pertaining to assisted reproductive technology, the contested case of prenatal adoption, and the application of double-effect reasoning. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the promulgation of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae vitae, this article seeks to defend its enduring relevance to modern-day society, through application of its reasoning to contemporary dilemmas in reproductivemedicine. It considers real cases of the ethics of prescribing hormonal contraceptives, of investigating male infertility, of cooperating in counseling and assisting conception in same-sex relationships, of ART, of prenatal adoption, and the application of double-effect reasoning. (shrink)
Definition of the problem The options of reproductivemedicine are expanding. In some cases, it is unclear whether there is a medical indication for applying procedures of assisted reproduction or whether this application is wish-fulfilling. The distinction between medical indication and wish fulfilment depends on the concept of indication. Thus, the concept of indication has a special status in reproductivemedicine. The distinction between medical indication and wish-fulfilling treatment is mostly based on implicit or explicit normative (...) judgements, rather than on mere clinical facts. The use of “indicated” suggests a purely empirical-clinical judgment, whereas the normative judgements behind the concept are concealed. The aim of this paper is to analyze the normative implications of indication in reproductivemedicine. Therefore, the concept of indication and its special status within reproductivemedicine is scrutinized. Arguments The analysis shows that the normative implications of indication are tied to a sociocultural script of parenthood, which manifests in the regulations of reimbursement. This script encompasses societal views, norms, and role models, and can be described as “good parenting”. The script of good parenting acts as a regulatory instance that determines the access to procedures of assisted reproduction. It is based on traditional heteronormative concepts of marriage and family, and reserves reproduction exclusively for heterosexual, married couples. Conclusion The sociocultural script of good parenting in reproductivemedicine implies a contradiction: Assisted reproduction technologies provide the opportunity of reproduction for individuals outside the heteronormative frame, yet they are legitimized and limited by this exact frame. (shrink)
This essay sets down three directives for conscientiously objecting clinicians—physicians, particularly obstetrician/gynecologists, trained in NaProTechnology by the Pope Paul VI Institute and Creighton University School of Medicine and any medical professionals who share their natural law vision of reproductive health care—to protect their right to well-formed conscientious objection in reproductivemedicine. Directive one: understand the nature of a well-formed conscience and its rightful exercise. Directive two: fulfill all reasonable American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ requirements for (...) conscientious refusal. Directive three: execute a political strategy to protect health-care conscience rights. (shrink)
Social, political, and economic environments play an active role in nurturing professional virtue. Yet, these environments can also lead to the erosion of virtue. As such, professional virtue is fragile and vulnerable to environmental shifts. While physicians are often considered to be among the most virtuous of professional groups, concern has also always existed about the impact of commercial arrangements on physicians’ willingness and capacity to enact their professional virtues. This article examines the ways in which commercial arrangements have been (...) negotiated to secure medical virtue from real or perceived threats of erosion. In particular, we focus on the concern surrounding conflicts of interest arising from commercial arrangements that have developed as a result of neoliberal economic and social policies. The deregulation of medical markets and privatization of services have produced new commercial relationships that are often misunderstood by patients, publics, and physicians themselves. ‘Conflicts of interest’ policies have been introduced in an attempt to safeguard ethical conduct and medical practice. However, a number of virtue ethicists have critiqued these policies as inadequate for securing virtue. We examine the ways in which commercial arrangements have been seen to impact upon medical virtue, both historically and in the context of modern medicine. We then describe and critique current efforts to restore clinical virtue through both conflict of interest policies and through virtue ethics. Finally, we suggest some possible ways of addressing the corrosive effects of neoliberalism on medical virtue. (shrink)
The concept of reproductive health promises to play a crucial role in improving health care provision and legal protection for women around the world. This is an authoritative and much-needed introduction to and defence of the concept of reproductive health, which though internationally endorsed, is still contested. The authors are leading authorities on reproductivemedicine, women's health, human rights, medical law, and bioethics. They integrate their disciplines to provide an accessible but comprehensive picture. They analyse 15 (...) cases from different countries and cultures, and explore options for resolution. The aim is to equip readers to fashion solutions in their own health care circumstances, compatibly with ethical, legal and human rights principles. (shrink)
The social interface between reproductivemedicine and embryonic stem cell research has been investigated in a pilot study at a large IVF clinic in central China. Methods included observation, interviews with hospital personnel, and five in-depth qualitative interviews with women who underwent IVF and who were asked for their consent to the donation of embryos for use in medical (in fact human embryonic stem cell) research. This paper reports, and discusses from an ethical perspective, the results of an (...) analysis of these interviews. The participants talked of extreme social pressure to become pregnant. Once they had a baby, ‘spare’ embryos lost practical significance due to the Chinese one-child policy. In the context of decision making about donating embryos to research, the women used the clinical distinctions between ‘good and bad quality’ embryos and also between frozen and transferred embryos, as guiding moral distinctions. In the absence of concrete information about what sort of research their embryos should be used for, the women interviewed either refused consent (for fear that the embryo would be given to another couple) or accepted, expressing motives of solidarity with other women in a similar situation. This reveals that they filled the knowledge gap with an image of research improving fertility treatment. (shrink)
This book is an attempt to provide a new “ethical framework” that can then be applied to issues in reproductive and perinatal medicine. A new framework is needed because moral theories such as utilitarianism and Kantian ethics have proved to be deficient in deciding specific cases. The author seeks to balance two fundamental values: reproductive freedom and respect for life.
The major dilemma for bioethics is choosing an appropriate method of ethical analysis, one that when applied to individual cases can illuminate if not resolve vexing ethical issues for providers and their patients. Two of these books offer direction in this regard. The framework Carson Strong adopts and makes a compelling case for in EthicsinReproductiveandPerinatalMedicine:ANewFramework is one of modified casuistry. Casuistry, imported to bioethics by Jonsen and Toulmin, is a practical, case-based method of ethical decisionmaking. It relies on comparison between (...) moral factors in a case under consideration and in paradigm cases with justifications for different outcomes. The preferred course of action is the one warranted by the paradigm case that most resembles the case under consideration. Strong's framework is a modified form of casuistry because it takes into account social and political views and allows for, upon occasion, a prioritization of values across cases. (shrink)
Title: Medicine, Morals, and the LawPublisher: Gower Pub CoISBN: 0566005336Author: Sheila McLean and Gerry MaherTitle: Reproductive EthicsPublisher: Prentice HallISBN: 0137739044Author: Michael BaylesTitle: Ethics of Withdrawal of Life-Support SystemsPublisher: Praeger PaperbackISBN: 0275927105Author: Douglas N. Walton.